This year all the world was forced to move to remote working. The experience has shown that most employees work from home the same productively or even more efficiently. Some of the companies, including the major international companies, are planning to stick to this way of work even after the crisis outbreak. As the companies already got used to the idea of remote employees, why not to save costs by IT nearshoring?
Remote work in different countries
Across the globe, many companies have found that the shift to remote work has been a less-than-smooth transition. Setting up usually office-based staff with computer equipment, and recalibrating working culture to keep employees connected, has been a significant shift for most. Many countries suffer from middling robustness of the platforms and vulnerable internet infrastructure.
In the article "Which Countries Were (And Weren't) Ready for Remote Work?" authors Bhaskar Chakravorti and Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi are giving an overview of how different Countries have taken vastly different measures to stop the spread of the virus and how smooth was the transition to remote work.
At Tufts University's Fletcher School, in a research project funded by the Mastercard Impact Fund and administered by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, they examined the question of preparedness to remote work by evaluating 42 countries that are significant in the global economy and have enacted social distancing measures. Some countries that were missing key data were not included. They scored the "social distance readiness" of their economies using three indices developed with their team, which included researchers, Griffin Brewer and Christina Filipovic:
- Robustness of key platforms — technology-mediated remote work, e-commerce, digital media, and the country's digital foundations — a key to business continuity
- Proliferation and resilience of digital payments options to facilitate transactions
- The resilience of the internet infrastructure to traffic surges
Using data to create an apples-to-apples comparison across countries like this creates a simplified picture, but one that they think is useful. The results (higher scores represent better performance along with each index) are graphed below.
There is a divide between rich and poor, but also between the resilient and the fragile: Advanced economies, at the top of the graph, have more robust digital platforms, making them better prepared for the pivot to online work than developing economies in the bottom. They also have a stronger digital payment infrastructure. However, there are wide variations in internet resilience, meaning the infrastructure may struggle to support the increased demand. Countries on the left of the graph will experience jittery connections and slowdowns relative to "normal" performance, which could hurt productivity.
According to this ranking, Singapore and the Netherlands showed them as the best prepared for a switch to remote work.
The Netherlands as an example of working from home
For the Netherlands, where the sizable workforce was used to the remote work, the adjustment has been much less dramatic.
Katie Bishop, in the article for the BBC "What the Dutch can teach the world about remote work," notes that thousands of workers in the Netherlands benefit from the country's astonishingly flexible work culture. While the percentage of employed persons usually working remotely before the coronavirus outbreak lingered at around 4.7% in the UK, and 3.6% in the US, 14.1% of the Netherland's workforce reports usually working away from the office. The Netherlands has long led the global shift toward remote work, with only Finland catching up in recent years while other countries lag behind.
The explosion of remote working facilities in the Netherlands hasn't just benefited employees of large companies. Around 1.1 million workers in the Netherlands are self-employed, and the normalization of the virtual office has made it easy for freelancers and small business start-ups to operate without the need for a dedicated office.
As we begin to imagine a post-pandemic future, there will be many who would prefer to keep working in the home working setup. Results of a US poll, conducted mid-crisis, suggest that 59% of remote workers would like to continue working remotely as much as possible once restrictions on businesses and school closures are fully lifted.
According to the yearly "State of Remote Work", 98% of respondents said they would like to work remotely at least some of the time (part-time) for the rest of their careers. This statistic remains unequivocal each year: remote workers almost unanimously want to continue to work remotely. This is notable data to have discovered; while remote work is sometimes portrayed as a trend, these results seem to infer that this way of working is here to stay. Also, it seems that once someone gets a taste of working remotely, they tend to recommend it: 97 percent told us they would recommend remote work to others.
Major international companies, including Barclays and Twitter, have already suggested that expensive city office space may become a thing of the past. Both have already hinted at an end to the commute for its employees, planning potentially long-term remote work policies for after the pandemic.
Companies that plan to keep working remotely
"Remote working is about ensuring businesses can combat the disruption being caused by Coronavirus. Fully understanding and implementing a 'remote working solution' will benefit them not only now during this crisis but in the long term as well."
- UK-based Charlie Dawson, Channel Director of IMSCAD Global, an online data specialist for the "Remote working: The new normal" article.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many companies to embrace work-from-home solutions. For some, the transition may stick.
At the beginning of the virus spread big tech companies were asking more employees to work from home as the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to spread. Facebook (FB), Google (GOOG), Twitter (TWTR), and Amazon (AMZN) have implemented remote working policies for many or all of their employees around the globe.
Google parent company Alphabet recommended that all employees in North America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East work remotely.
Several big businesses plan to let much of their staff work from home permanently, even after the pandemic. Remote jobs could become the new normal — at least for some companies.
Mark Zuckerberg said as many as 50% of Facebook (FB) employees could be working remotely within the next five to 10 years. Zuckerberg pitched the idea as both a matter of satisfying employee desires and also as an effort to create "more broad-based economic prosperity."
Balancing both remote workers and in-office employees is a reality for more and more businesses.
In The State of Remote Work 2019, 91% of respondents who are business owners selected that they had always intended to support remote work. This was up from 88% in the previous year's report.
There's a range of stances on remote work across workplaces. While fully remote companies (like Buffer) are the reality for 30% of respondents, many companies incorporate remote workers in a variety of ways. Some have a mix of full-time office workers and full-time remote workers (43 percent); others offer employees a certain amount of "work from home" days (nine percent) or the flexibility to work from home as needed (15 percent).
Altogether, over 60 % of the State of Remote Report 2020 respondents indicated their companies have a split between employees in an office and employees who work remotely. We've seen this become a growing trend in the remote work world.
Boost resilience and adapt your operations now
Now is the time to start making changes to prepare your business for an uncertain economic future.
"When you limit hiring to people who live in a small number of big cities, or who are willing to move there, that cuts out a lot of people who live in different communities, have different backgrounds, have different perspectives," Zuckerberg said on a livestream posted to his Facebook page.
The company did not specify which roles will qualify for work-from-home. But Twitter said the experience of remote working for the past several months has shown that it can work at scale for the long-haul.
"If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen," said Twitter's vice president of people, Jennifer Christie, in a statement to CNN Business. "If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it's safe to return."
Tobi Lutke, CEO of Shopify (SHOP), announced that the world of work has been turned on its head.
"Office centricity is over," he tweeted. "As of today, Shopify is digital by default company.
Lutke said Shopify, an eCommerce platform for small businesses, will keep its offices closed until 2021. This year, Shopify will rework its physical spaces for this new reality. Afterward, most employees will work remotely -- permanently.
"Until recently, work happened in the office. We've always had some people remote, but they used the internet as a bridge to the office. This will reverse now," Lutke tweeted. "The future of the office is to act as an on-ramp to the same digital workplace that you can access from your #WFH setup."
Saving costs with hiring remote nearshore employees
Having teammates work remotely can help companies save money on office rental and facilities. Working with nearshore remote colleagues can avoid recruitment costs, reduce salary costs, and the spending on project development.
With recovering from the pandemic, many companies are now being forced to cut costs or to spend budgets very wisely. With nearshoring to countries with lower salary costs, there is a substantial potential for savings.
The cost of IT operations through Amsterdam Standard can be cut by a valuable part. With our dedicated nearshore services in Poland, you can get better quality for a lower price than in the Netherlands or other West European countries. At Amsterdam Standard, we also optimize the process of software development, that increases the quality, speed up the delivery of the product, and reduces risks. All of these factors will save the costs of the project.
The difference between offshoring and nearshoring is the distance. Our Polish specialists work in the same time zone, which simplifies communication and speeds up the process. The physical distance isn't significant either, so it's perfectly viable to meet with clients in the Netherlands or Poland in just a few hours when needed. Additionally, each of our specialists speaks English.
By nearshoring IT operations, the clients can focus on their core business, grow their company again, and generate profit.
Today, Amsterdam Standard is a known company with more than 16 years of experience and spread out over 4 offices. Our long experience with working remote means we have a well-prepared workflow that we can carry out in line with each other, despite the physical distance. All routines and communication channels are already established. For clients, we are effective from day one.
Many Dutch and international companies have already hired their remote software developers in Amsterdam Standard, will you be the next one? Contact us to discuss the details.